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The Walking Dead: Season 2 – Episode 4 “Amid the Ruins” Review

Episode 4: Amid the Ruins of Telltale's critically-acclaimed zombie series The Walking Dead walked onto platforms on July 22 (PS3, Vita,  PC) and July 23 (PC, Xbox 360).
Episode 4: Amid the Ruins of Telltale’s critically-acclaimed zombie series The Walking Dead walked onto platforms on July 22 (PS3, Vita, PC) and July 23 (PC, Xbox 360). Source:

There’s a storm coming

Point of no return: spoilers below!

The closing scene of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2 – Episode 4 “Amid the Ruins” summed up the group’s current situation: there’s a storm coming and Clementine and her group are not prepared.

After the events of last episode (“In Harm’s Way”), Clementine and the group are scattered after escaping the Carver community, with its leader dead (at the hands of Kenny) and a humungous zombie horde invading the compound.

But as the episode title suggests, the getaway plan-suggested by Jane- was not without its share of fatalities and losses to key characters.

Season 2 has honed in on loss as the key motif, just as Season 1 did around the fourth episode, when key characters were beginning to die . Clementine continues to grow more accustomed to making difficult, mature decisions for the good of the group, despite her being the youngest and having suffered more than any 11-year-old should for a lifetime.

Episode 4 gives you the options of either being ignorant and indifferent to the key issues of trusting certain members of the group (Jane, Kenny), or being a mediator between group differences, such as Bonnie not trusting Jane or Luke’s quarrel with Kenny, who he believes is unstable and volatile.

After escaping the horde, Clementine, Rebecca and Jane meet up with Bonnie and Mike at the rendezvous point, Parker’s Run; but Luke, Sarah, Carlos and Nick are no where to be found, with temperatures dropping, dusk approaching and food, water and shelter scarce.

Clementine is the only character that approaches each problem with a common-sense mentality, suggesting compromises instead of partisan solutions.

160349693But as hostilities rise when Sarah and Luke are found and reunited with the group, all characters begin to doubt other members of the group. Suspicions are high, especially for Kenny.

At first, Kenny blames Clementine for Sarita’s death (let’s be honest she was dead anyway). But Clementine is tasked with the responsibility of calming Kenny down and putting the broken man back together.

The way Clementine responds to Kenny’s hostility is evidence of her development as a character. In Season one, Clementine was a girl, good-natured and cognizant of the post-apocalyptic world but also fearful of it.

Age is no indication of wisdom

Now, in Season 2, Clementine has shown there that there is no longer  a difference between children and adults, a notion The Walking Dead television series has exhibited time and again. She has progressed past the fearful stage and demonstrated she is willing to do what is necessary to survive, something Lee urged her before his death.

When Jane and Clementine come across Nick hanging in a fence, reanimated, Clem can almost not bear to kill another one of her friends, but Jane convinces her that she is stronger than others and should not let others bring her down.

Working as a group, Jane and Clementine liberate Luke and Sarah from the mobile-home park, but Sarah is reluctant to go and it is up to you whether she lives and returns with you or she dies.

Upon returning, Rebecca is in pain and will be entering labor soon. Clementine convinces Kenny that she did all she could for Sarita and you cannot dwell on the dead but only live for the living. Kenny, still irate over Clementine, admires her courage and fortitude, remarking that she has the strength and will of “three adults put together”.

For a series that packs so much of an emotional punch, Episode 4 dropped many characters for almost no reason, either their role was no longer necessary, their death was unjustified or just plain unwanted. But Telltale has a proven track record of alleviating these worries, especially in big situations such as a finale.

The Season 1 finale was fantastic and more than made up for the penultimate episode.

Jane and Clementine really form a big sister-little sister bond in this episode that is cut short by episode’s end. We learn more of Jane’s past and the arduous emotional road she has traveled since the loss of her sister, a choice that Jane herself still questions.

But Clementine and Jane’s encounter with the mysterious Arvo reveal Jane as the cold, critical survivor (similar to Carol in the TV show) who wants to do whatever necessary to survive, willing to steal Arvo’s medicine and maybe even kill him. Clementine is the conscience of the moment and convinces Jane to do otherwise.

The fling between Luke and Jane was kinda weird, unnecessary and out of place but probably has something to do with Jane’s decision to depart the group, wishing to not become too attached.

After Kenny delivers the baby and Clem and the group ward off the zombies by destroying the deck, the baby appears to be dead. But the little baby is a survivor like the rest and miraculously clings to life, much to everyone’s surprise.

After Jane leaves and the group gets on the road to reach the adjacent town, hoping to find food and shelter, Rebecca is quickly losing strength, when the group is confronted by an unlikely stranger.

Arvo appears out of the falling snow and sets the group up for an ambush. This appeared rushed as the group just escaped a villainous faction in Carver.

Clem’s plea that they have a baby puts take Arvo by surprise and convinces him to quell the attempt on their capture but Rebecca wilts and dies and Clem has the hasty decision to gun her down as she reanimates or call for help, either way, the shot triggers the same result.

This was the first episode in the series that did not end with a teaser cut-scene for the next episode, only stating it is “coming soon”; but Episode 5 “No Going Back” is rumored to be dropping on September 23, according to the gaming site, Cyberland.

Only time will tell but I’m excited for the conclusion as Season 1’s end was able to bring me to tears – which is very difficult to do.

Check out the episode before the finale drops!

7.4 Satisfying

This episode focused strongly on character development and Clementine’s mature reaction to several conflicts, including more suffering and death. But the build-up to the finale is to be expected with a mediocre outing. “The night is darkest just before the dawn” – Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight (2008)